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November 7, 1997
I Wether its o iciad or not, this game is or the Rose Bozd
In the grand scheme of things, Jan, 1, 1993
wasn't that long ago. Bill Clinton was presi-
dent then. It hasn't even been five years.
But five years is a long time to wait for some
people. Too long for others, an eternity for
Michigan football fans.
But that's how long its been since the
Wolverines last played in a Rose Bowl. No play-
er on Michigan's roster has ever been to
Pasadena, and only a handful of the coaches
have had the experience.
Bo Schembechler's mantra was "Those who
stay will be champions," and in Bo's 20 years, no
Wolverine left Ann Arbor without playing in at
least one Rose Bowl.
Now, nearly five years after its last appearance,
Michigan has a legitimate shot at another Rose
Bowl berth. But the Wolverines' biggest and
most formidable hurdle stands 24 hours ahead of
them - tomorrow's matchup with No. 2 Penn
It's no coincidence the Wolverines' last confer-
ence championship was in 1992, the last year the
Nittany Lions were not in the Big Ten. Since
then, Michigan has waded knee-deep in four-loss
seasons with Rose Bowl dreams erased before
November. The Wolverines defeated Penn State
21-13 in 1993, but since then, the Lions have
had Michigan's number.
Tomorrow, two undefeated teams will square
off in State College in a game that couldn't mean
more. The winner is not only in the driver's seat
in the Rose Bowl race, but has the accelerator to
the floor. The loser is running on empty.
While, statistically at least, neither team will
be eliminated from Rose Bowl contention this
weekend, there is no question that this game is
for the right to represent the Big Ten conference
"Our biggest goal this
season was to make it to
the Rose Bowl, All-plan-
et cornerback Charles
Woodson said. "We're
headed in that direction"
They haven't been in a
JOHN long time. But for some
LEROI reason, this team is dif-
Out of ferent. Last year,
Bounds Michigan never would
have come from two
touchdowns behind to
beat Iowa on its final drive of the fourth quarter.
This team is special, and nobody quite knows
why. There were no letdowns this year. There is
no selfishness. There is a huge sense of urgency,
and it seems that every Wolverine knows it.
"We pretty much knew after the first game,"
said tailback Chris loward, who has played with
bruised ribs the past two games. "We knew we
had something special, that we could run the
table. But it doesn't mean anything if we don't
win this game."
This game is for the Rose Bowl. The
Wolverines would have to win their last three
games to be guaranteed a bid. But if they win
tomorrow, it is unlikely anybody could knock
them off track.
Lose and the situation is even harder to get out
of. Penn State would have to lose twice in its
final three games for Michigan to even have a
"We all know what the game means and the.
ramifications of winning and losing;' said senior
linebacker Rob Swett, who hails from Chalfont,
Pa., and was recruited by both Penn State and
"If we win, our chances of going to the Rose
Bowl are pretty good. If we lose ..
Well, it's unthinkable. And unlike previous
seasons, Swett wouldn't even allow himself t4
say it. This is a big game around here, no matter
what anybody else throughout the country
This is for the Rose Bowl. Penn State knows it
and Michigan knows it.
A loss for Michigan wouldn't mean the end of
its season, but it would be the end of its dream.
.Jo/m Leroi can berevached via e-mail at
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -
Mack Brown is well aware of the dan-
gers of falling behind No. 3 Florida
State - and the odds of No. 5 North
Carolina rallying from a large deficit
to claim a win in their 7:30 p.m.
showdown televised nationally by
But, the North Carolina coach said
he's run out of answers trying to moti-
vate his slow-starting offense.
"Based on everything I've seen this
year, we better hang on early in the
ball game," Brown said of the pivotal
ACC matchup that also carries
national title implications.
"I plan on them being ahead. My
halftime speeches haven't changed.
I've had to pull them back out and use
them again. I would like to have one
where I could be telling our bunch to
keep their focus. We haven't had that
North Carolina (8-0) has been
blanked in the first 15 minutes in five
games. A 10-0 lead over Texas
Christian is the only advantage the Tar
Heels have enjoyed after the first peri-
The Tar Heels have scored 158 of
their 236 points in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles (8-0)
bolted to first-quarter leads of 21-0
and 27-0 in their past two games and
have scored 104 points in the first
quarter of their eight games, includ-
ing three touchdowns on the first five
plays against Virginia three weeks
"It doesn't look good for the first
quarter," Brown said. "They are scor-
ing a bunch early.
"I've told my players we're going to
have a 60-minute half and we're not
going to play the first half. I've told
them maybe we should scrimmage
out in the parking lot before we start
and get whatever it is out of their sys-
tem, and they are not paying me any
Nation's top defense
faces biggest hurdle
By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
So here we sit on the eve of
Judgment Day, when the fate of No. 4
Michigan and No. 2 Penn State will
be determined and the Rose Bowl
front-runner will be anointed by vic-
tory. But through all the hype, it's the
same old story: Michigan's defense.
The Wolverines have the nation's
top-rated overall defense, scoring
defense and pass efficiency defense,
and they have the nation's fifth-
ranked rushing defense. Of course,
the Nittany Lions have the Big Ten's
best total offense, but the Wolverines
have already bottled up Iowa, which
still has the league's top scoring
"Michigan has the finest defense
in college football," Iowa coach
Hayden Fry said Tuesday. "1 just
don't see anybody moving the ball
with any consistency against" the
That could add up to a Michigan
victory, though it will be awfully
close, most coaches agree.
Northwestern's Gary Barnett has lost
to both teams this season, and sees
the game simply.
"I really think it does come down
to whether Penn State can move the
ball on Michigan's defense," Barnett
said Tuesday. "It's going to be a phys-
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
PENN STATE RUSHING DEFENSE: The
Wolverines are averaging 193.6 yards
rushing per game, fourth-best in the
league, while the Lions are allowing
an average of 133.7, fifth-best.
Things should be about even, but
Linebacker Brandon Short is
expected to return to the lineup from
an ankle injury for Penn State, leav-
ing the banged-up Wolverines in
trouble. Chris Howard (ribs), Chris
Floyd (shoulder) and Clarence
Williams (hamstring) all have had
recent health problems. Though all
are expected to play, the Wolverines
To have any success, Michigan's
often-penalized offensive line must
be disciplined and the running backs
must be tough. And linebacker Jim
Nelson, who leads Penn State with 60
tackles, must be blocked. He had a
season-high I1 tackles in a big victo-
ry over Ohio State, as the Lions held
the Buckeyes to 106 yards rushing.
PENN STATE RUSHING OFFENSP N.
MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE:
one of the most complex blocking
schemes in all of college football, the
Lions' offensive line neutralized the
best linebacker in the land, Ohio
State's Andy Katzenmoyer, earlier
this season. Curtis Ellis ran for more
than 200 yards and carried his team to
But the Wolverines boast a much
deeper defense than the Buckt S,
and they are fifth-best in the n. fn
against the run, allowing just 78.4
yards per game. Michigan defensive
coordinator Jim Herrmann said
Saturday that Penn State will pose a
stiff challenge but that he also was
confident that challenge could be
Ellis will have an especially diffi-
cult time exploding for- a -lot of
yardage, because fullback A ,n
Harris, who helped out against o
State, is sidelined with a knee injury.
The Tale of Two Cities,
Stadium name: Michigan Stadium
Stadium Capacity: 102,501
Favorite Projectile: Marshmallows
Famous alumnus: James Earl Jones
Stadium name: Beaver Stadium
Stadium Capacity: 93,967
Favorite Projectile: Snowballs
Famous alumnus: Mary Ellen Clark
No. 2 Penn State
4-0 Big Ten
PENN STAMTE PASSING OFFENSF S.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: Wis
could be the most intriguing matchup
of the game. Quarterback. Mike
McQueary lilt wide receiver Joe
Jurevicius for more than a few big
plays earlier this year, and though their
big-play production has dropped off as
defenses have become smarter, they
remain the Lions' most potent threat.
Woodson will no doubt guard
Jurevicius, who said Wednesday that
he's looking forward to the one-one
test against the best coverage cOrner in
the college game. The weather likely
will be rainy, and on a soggy field, the
receiver has the advantage because he
knows where he is going.
Problem is, Woodson reacts too
well, and he's got Marcus Ray -sup-
porting him. Penn State throws for
223.9 yards per game, but Michigan
doesn't have the best secondary in-the
land for nothing. -
No. 4 Michigan
5-0 Big Ten
ESPN GameDay will pull double
duty with two marquee games
From staff reports
The world of sports journalism is no
stranger to hyperbole, and tomorrow's
television coverage of college football
is no exception.
ESPN College GameDay has tagged
tomorrow "Judgment Day" in college
football. But, despite the lack of biblical
implications, tomorrow's games have
huge implications on college football.
While No. 4 Michigan squares off
against No. 2 Penn State in State
College, No. 3 Florida State faces No. 5
- North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C..
Big games, yes. "Judgment Day" -
Nevertheless, the importance of the
two games has forced ESPN to split up
its GameDay coverage. Analysts Chris
Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
will be in Chapel Hill, while Mike
Adamle, Beano Cook and Steve
Cyphers will broadcast from State
This will be Michigan's third game
in front of a GameDay audience, fol-
lowing appearances against Colorado
and Michigan State.
ESPN's presence has boded well for
the Wolverines, who are 2-0 in games
that GameDay has attended,
Coverage 'begins at 11:30 a.m.
tomorrow, with Cyphers reporting on
the matchup between Michigan's
defense and Penn State running back
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
PENN STATE PASSING DEFENSE: Two-
way man Charles Woodson played
more on offense last week against
Minnesota than ever before in his
Michigan career. Considering he had
seemed held back beforehand, maybe
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has been
saving him for this weekend. If so,
Michigan has a mediocre passing
attack, and Penn State has a mediocre
pass defense. But, with a little help
from their defense, the Wolverines
haven't had a problem putting up
enouh noints to win. A laroe chunk
SPECIAL TEAMS: So the Wolverines
blocked a punt last week. Big- deal.
They've also given up 60-yard . t
returns for touchdowns recently, hfive
had their own punts blocked-and have
missed field goals. If it does rain, and
the Wolverines can't convert on field
goals because of slippery turf, it could
mean the game this time.ru.
The Lions' Travis Forney is 6-of-8
on field goals, but he hasn't missed an
attempt from inside 40 yards.
So far, Michigan is having a magical
season that no one outside
i Y Il 1 -.I - / ,.T -0.a .,/ - a aI, .